Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Christian Couple Ardy Roberto and Miriam Quiambao Inspire Filipino Migrants at the Men and Women's Conference in Korea

The attendees of the conference with the speakers Bro. Ardy Roberto and Sis. Miriam Quiambao-Roberto

It’s been said that living in a foreign land is never easy. Needless to say that people working overseas are heroes in their own right for the sacrifices and the setbacks they’re trying to conquer while being away from home. Every Filipino working abroad is going through adversities, and Filipinos in South Korea are not exempted. Just like other OFWs, Filipino migrants in Korea are also dealing with homesickness, longing for their respective partners in the Philippines, missing their kids, their parents and friends and relatives. It is at this state when giving up to temptations and worldly pleasures are easy options. That is why despite the challenge of distance, we must need to protect ourselves against the worldly things that could not only damage us but also our relationship with family, friends and relatives.

For these reasons and more, three churches in South Korea have collaborated to conduct Men and Women’s Conference 2017 as part of the E12 Intentional Discipleship Ministry program. The conference dealt head-on with the way of the world and how we tend to rationalize and justify some wrong doings just so we can jump on to the bandwagon. The conference was attended by a total of 108 Filipino migrants from Sinwoldong Sungkyul Church Foreign Ministry (SSCFM), LOGOS Korea and Christ Commission Ministry (CCM). It was held at the Bears Town Ski Resort in Pocheon last January 27 and 28, 2017. The speakers for this conference were Entrepreneur and Author Bro. Ardy Roberto and his wife, 1999 Miss Universe 1st Runner Up Miriam Quiambao-Roberto.

The couple shares their inspiring life and love story

The conference started Friday evening; everyone braved the nippy weather to the venue just to attend the event. The conference room was fully occupied by the excited attendees. To warm up the hearts and minds, a prayer with hearty and moving praise and worship led by SSCFM music team opened the program of the night. The conference was capped with Bro. Ardy and Sis. Miriam’s personal testimonies.  After dealing with their individual hardships in love and life, God has made the world conspired to make sure that they will end up in each other’s arms. The conference followed a simultaneous storytelling of their individual lives up to the point where circumstances led them together. It was not simply a true to life storytelling, but a bible verse inspired story. Everybody was blessed that night because of the inspiring story of the couple. It is true indeed that nothing will go wrong if you will just pray and commit it all to God.

Attendees from different churches attentively listening to the speakers

The couple also talked about how they dealt with the struggles of keeping the purity between them. They set boundaries just to make sure that they are not doing what unmarried couples are doing nowadays. This part of their testimony made us realized that just because everybody is doing it doesn’t mean it is right. The irony of it all is that, if wrong deeds become too mainstream, you will feel outdated and out of place if you will not do it too. Let’s say for example the pre-marital sex. We all know it’s wrong, but because almost all unmarried couples are doing it, you are not cool if you will not do it too. As a Christian, we ought to do what is always right, because we are here not to please the people but the God that we believe in.

Congregational Prayer

Concluding the night, the couple prayed for everybody in the room. It was a moment of great renewal of spiritual commitment and pouring out the struggles and also the praises to the Lord. Lastly, the couple signed the books that the attendees purchased from them. They also graced the photo taking session despite their tiredness.

On the second day of the conference, the attendees were divided into two groups. One group is for men and the other group is for women. Bro. Ardy Roberto was the speaker for the men’s group. He talked about integrity and he taught how a person could become a man of integrity. At the end of it all, everybody wrote their pledge on a piece of paper to commit to become the man of integrity. Here are some of the reflections of the attendees from the men’s group:

Love your wife....avoid temptation...be a Man of God...Man of integrity...at higit sa lahat laging maging POGI. - Bro. Jasper De Ocampo

Naging challenge po sa akin para maging POGI yong malawak na pag unawa specially sa wife...wag tingnan yong kamalian ng isa.. kilangan mo ring balikan ang sarili mo kong ano ang tama at mali..most important thing is to PRAY pra magkaroon ng integridad na nag mumula sa holy spirit hindi sa pansariling kaalaman..at ma appreciate mo malaki o mallit man na bagay pra maipadama mo ang pagmamahal gaya ng pag mamahal ni KRISTO sa atin..- Bro. Jeorge Guillera
Sis. Miriam Quiambao-Roberto, on the other hand, led the session for the women’s group. She encouraged the women to become prayerful and always ask the Lord for guidance to follow His will. Here are some of the reflections of the attendees:

 *Ang pagkakaroon po ng deep relationship of God
 *Pagkakaroon po ng matatag n faith sa ating Panginoon.
 *Matutong laging mnalangin at hingiin lagi ang gabay ng Panginoon sa bawat hakbang or desisyon sa ating buhay
 *Lagi po nating ipagkatiwala at ilatag sa Panginoon ang ating anumang mga problems o pgsubok sa ating buhy huwag po tayong mgsawang mnalangin.. – Sis Mheey De Real

Women are hot! 1. Have a Heart for God~ Prov. 23:26 I should live inlove to my Savior Jesus Christ, but I can't say that I love God without obeying His word, 2. Obey~Exodus 19:5. If I want God to bless me I should obey what He wants me to do. Obedience equals blessings. 3. Trust ~proverbs 3:5~6 I will trust Him and I won't lean on my own understanding bec. I am nothing without God. When I accepted God not only my Savior also my Lord. So I should let Him lead my life daily. Eto po ang akin. I prayed to God these 3 points will manifest in my heart. In Jesus name I pray Amen. – Sis Cindy Yusi

Ang magkaroon tau ng oras para s pananalangin at tamang lugar. Manalangin s Panginoon khit maliit o sa malalaking desisyon. – Sis Bheng

Yes!. ..I was really touched by her testimony...until now di aq maka move on...un transformation sa kanya ng Panginoon grabe!..Napakabisa tlaga ng prayer...from her testimony, prayer ang naging solution sa lahat ng pinagdaanan niya and nakita naman sa kanya ang naging bunga ng mga panalangin nya...indeed, when we fully surrendered ourselves to God babaguhin at babaguhin Niya tayo until maging kawangis Niya...magkakaroon tayo ng contentment and ung dati nating ginagawa na nagpapasaya sa atin magiging boring na because inilagay na ng Diyos sa ating mga puso ang tunay na joy na nagmumula sa Kanya lamang.kaya naman un sinasabi ni sis Mirriam sa testimony na boyfriend niya si Lord at nararamdaman niya na nanliligaw sa Kanya si Lord..for me, totoo un .kapag talaga naka focus tyo kay Jesus alone maraming kamangha manghang bagay ang ipaparanas sa tin ang Diyos ...Because sis Mirriam was obeyed God, naghaharvest na siya ngayon ng mga blessings..Kaya naman ang challenge sa kin ngayon ,..pray consistently ...and fully surrender myself to God ...I really thank God for the life of sis Mirriam...she encouraged us na walang tunay na kasiyahan without Jesus in our lives...Thank you po sis Mirriam...more souls to win..God bless.. – Sis Len De Ocampo

Her testimony is really challenging and inspiring. No one and nothing can fill the emptiness of our heart and soul. The more we want something for ourselves lalo taung mawawalan, but when we desire to be filled with His presence and to be a woman of God, He will give us beyond our requests and anticipations. But we should fully surrender ourselves first. And ask Him to give us a heart na laging in luv na in luv s Kanya through our consistent and constant prayer. Entrust and submit everything to Him. And pray na minsan is prng imposible ung mga ngyayari katulad ng pgbulong s knya ng Lord s pangalan ni Bro.Ardy to be her husband... But it was real, nothing is impossible to God. Just believe and have faith in Him. – Sis Ana Kim

 Ung reflection ko po sa testimony ni Sis Miriam natotonan ko walang sinumang ma pride na tao ang pinagpapala ni Lord. Because Jesus Christ is the model of humbleness kaya we should humble ourselves before He bless us And we can't obey and submit to anyone if we don't have a humble heart kaya unang una dapat un ang ma change sa puso natin bago freely natin matanggap whatever commands and will God wanted for me to follow.
 Pangalawa matotong makinig sa answer ni Lord to what we prayed for. Hindi ung nagppray but we have something in our mind na gusto na or nka plan (same sa list of ideal person ni Sis Miriam) dapat wag ng mag ask kay Lord kung nka set na sa mind natin ung gusto natin kasi matatagalan lang ung process, at si Lord lang din nman ang masusunod at ma disappoint lang tayo.
Once we asked God for His will, let it be and let God to decide. Kasi nga po He answers our prayer more than to what we deserve. And I have testimonies narin mga kapatid how God answered my prayers more than to what I expect..Hindi lingid sa inyo ang buhay eps at 2x na panganganak ko, sa early na paglabas ni Rak, still i sincere pa ako ng samunim ko. To God be the glory. – Sis Rima Felizardo

Napaka timely & laking challenge for me to trust God 101%.. Not to worry what lies ahead .. set aside "my SELF" Not my own will but His will.. Not my dreams but His plans ... That all will fall into place with His perfect plan and time. But I want to start with my heart desire to have a CONSISTENT INTIMATE-prayer life and time with God.. i want to hear God's voice.. loud and clear.. Esp. in making life-changing decisions ahead us..
Ang ganda nga sinabi niya, humble down.. Obey.. Submit to husband as we submit to God.. fall inlove with God.. That feeling na masaya at excited lagi makausap at makapag spend ng time sa Kanya.. Mag devotion at gumawa ng journal..(kaya from today i long to have that "inlove" feeling with the Lord)
The way Sis. Miriam shared her testimony .. Indeed! You can feel kung paano kumilos ang Panginoon sa buhay niya..
and also that we can share our own testimony on how God touched our hearts & changed us inside-out that may inspire,bless others and get to know Jesus Christ.
Blessed day ahead!     - Sis Khaye Tuazon

!Be Humble alwayz specially to our Lord kc hindi natin kayang lumapit sa panginoon kung tayo ay mataas at hindi natin kayang magpakumbaba...Obey all commands of God and trust in the Lord with all ur heart and lean not ur own understanding!wag tyong manangan sa sarili nating kakayanan at kylangan ipagpray natin ky Lord lahat ng plano at gusto natin sa buhay...at pinaka the best is prayer un talaga ang kylangan natin sa buhay natin is prayer...Kylangan s prayer natin is always God's will not our own will...and i always pray to the Lord na patuloy na bigyan tyo ng wisdom pra malaman natin ung will ng Lord pra sa mga prayers natin kung ano man un?Glory to God.... – Sis Crizel

May bagong inspiration akong nkuha. Waiting upon God's best but in the time of waiting mahalin ang Panginoon ng buong puso at isipan. – Sis Darlyn

After the conference, there was an awarding of certificate to the graduates of the E12 Discipleship Ministry. It was awarded by the respective pastors of the different churches with the speakers Bro. Ardy Roberto and Sis. Miriam Quiambao-Roberto.

Everybody was blessed with what they learned from the conference. It was indeed a very meaningful and memorable event for all the attendees. And as what Pastor Jerry Yusi said, the Men and Women’s conference was the BEST, it is Beautiful, Enlightening, Spiritual and Thought Provoking.

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Eat, Stroll and Wander at Chinatown Incheon

Ni Hao Ma!!!

Greetings all the way from CHINA……… town Incheon!!!

At the entrance of Chinatown in Incheon

You know what’s ridiculous about South Korea?

Everywhere you go, you always see the same thing.

If you walk at random streets, you probably see shops like Daiso, Lotteria, Paris Baguette and coffee shops like Angel-in-Us, Starbucks, and Tom N Toms among others. Korean restaurants are also everywhere, and of course, saunas and noraebang are always there too. The cities of Korea all look the same regardless of the location.

If you want to see different things in Korea, then go to places that offer different flavors to the visitors, example of this is the Chinatown in Incheon. Obviously, this place is a haven of Chinese food, buildings, products and whatnot. Aside from having a distinctive and unique atmosphere, this place is very special to both Chinese and Koreans because of its history.

A hotel designed in Chinese Architecture

A long long time ago, the Chinatown was a home to some 10,000 Chinese inhabitants of Korea. However, because of so many factors like Korean war and regulation of Chinese residents in Korea, the community had significantly decreased. Today, they still preserved the Chinese atmosphere of the place and people go to this place just to experience a little China in Korea. You can see more of these stories and about some Chinese legends on the paintings on the wall in the mural street.

Some paintings on the wall of the mural street

If you ever encountered the Korean food called “Jajangmyeon” or Noodles with bean pasta, you may want to know that this food is not just a Korean food. Jajangmyeon is actually a fusion of Chinese and Korean and this food was originated from this place. In fact, the restaurant that first served Jajangmyeon in the history of the world still exists right in the middle of Chinatown in Incheon.  There are a lot of jajangmyeon restaurant there, but if you see a restaurant with a ridiculously long line, that probably is the original maker of jajangmyeon. Other Chinese foods are also available in the menu of various restaurants in the area.

Some of the many Chinese restaurants in Chinatown

What I love about Incheon Chinatown though is the structure of the buildings because it is very Chinese. I’ve never been to China before so I don’t know how to compare it with the authentic designs, but nevertheless, taking a selfie in front of a hotel or a restaurant may make people believe that you are in China.

The busy street of Chinatown Incheon

The streets of Chinatown are always busy. People usually go to this place to eat, or buy Chinese products or just walk around. It’s a nice little place to visit if you want to feel the Chinese festivity and ambiance.

One of the many great architectures at Chinatown Incheon

It is easy to go to Incheon Chinatown. The address is located at Seollin-dong / Bukseong-dong, Jung-gu, Incheon-si (인천 중구 선린동 , 북성동 일대) but if you want to go there via public transportation, you can do so by taking the subway train Line number 1. Get off at Incheon station, and once you exit at the station, you can walk for about 3 minutes to reach the Chinatown.

Saturday, January 21, 2017

WINTER-refic Activities at the Hwacheon Sancheono(Trout) Ice Fishing Festival (얼음나라 화천산천어축제)

Hwacheon Ice Fishing Area

If you think Korea would forget festivals and stay slumber on a winter, you are wrong, you are definitely wrong. Korea never stops the festivities all year around, even during the below zero degrees Celsius winter. There are a lot of activities going on during this cold season in Korea that would make you hate the idea of hibernating. One of the biggest festivals in Korea is held every winter and that is the Hwacheon Sancheono Ice Fishing Festival (얼음나라 화천산천어축제).

People are busy catching trout fishes

Just like Boryeong Mud Festival, this Ice Fishing festival is not only graced by the Koreans but also by the tourists. It’s a very interesting festival because it is held in a county in Gangwondo named Hwacheon. If there’s a hell of fire, I would say that Hwacheon is a hell of ice. It was freezing cold when we went there in mid January. Since it is located in the Northern Part of South Korea, Hwacheon is the first place in the country to freeze during winter season. It freezes so much that its river is covered with a very thick layer of ice, making it an ideal location for ice fishing.

Our travel group Goh Travel Korea arrived at the venue at almost noontime. There were a lot of people when we arrived in the location. We’re all foreigners in the bus and we were given a pass to a fishing area only for foreigners. There was already a long line, so we waited for I think about 30 minutes before we were able to go in the fishing area. I can’t believe I was stepping on a river. Yes, it’s a river covered with a very thick ice, so thick that it will not collapse even with hundreds and thousands of people stepping on it. They gave us fishing kit which includes a fishing rod and a fake small fish to attract the trout fishes.

Trying my luck to catch the trout fish from this little hole

In the fishing area, there were holes made so that participants can just cast their baits on it and wait for the fish to bite it. At first, I was confident I can catch a lot of fishes because it looks so easy, but I was wrong, it was never easy at all. I casted my bait into a hole, the water was so clear I could see the bottom of the river from the small hole. I even saw fishes just passing by my bait, they don’t care at all. After 10 minutes, the person next to me was able to catch a fish, I was a little bit pressured because the fishes were not reacting to my bait. I was determined to catch even just one fish, so I followed what others are doing. Apparently, you just don’t put your bait out there and wait for the dumb fish to bite it. You have to move it so that they think it’s alive and suitable for lunch. After 20 minutes, the people around me started to shout for joy because they were able to catch some fishes. I still patiently waited, transferred from one hole to another, and followed what others are doing, but to no avail. After about 30 minutes, I was already frustrated and started praying like crazy, making appeal to fishes passing by and somehow oblivious to the presence of my bait to bite it. Nobody listens to my plea. Maybe the trout fishes don’t like me at all. Our time was up, I wanted to stay for more, but there were a lot of people waiting for their turn, so I rested my case for the trout fish and went out of the fishing area empty handed. At least I enjoyed the experience of ice fishing. The thrill was real and you can feel the excitement in the air everytime somebody catches a fish. Somebody from our group caught 14 fishes, that was a lot of fishes, and she’s a woman. I asked what’s her technique, she said that you should not wait for the fish to bite your bait because most of the time, they will ignore it. Use the bait to attract the fishes, and when they’re near, catch them on their body using the hook of your bait. That technique was so effective, at least for her. Unfortunately, we were not allowed to bring our catches, we have to surrender them all at the kitchen booth.

Helping a friend for her catch

The good thing about this activity is, whether you caught 0, 1 ,2 or 14 fishes, everybody will be given one grilled trout fish. How awesome is that? It was already late for lunch when we finished the fishing activity, so we filled our stomach with the complimentary grilled trout fish given to us. Should I say that the trout fishes at Hwacheon are so delicious? They call this fishes Sancheoneo which literally means Mountain Trout Fish. This kind of fish does not swim on murky waters, they thrive on clear and clean water only. It tastes like a fusion of salmon and milkfish. Supposedly, we were only entitled to one fish per person, but I was given two fishes, and because I really really love the taste of Sancheono, I did not refuse the offer.

Sharing one hole to get the fish

Aside from the Ice Fishing, there were other activities held in the same location. There’s ice skating, snow sled, ice slide and even giant ice sculptures all over the place. Think of everything you can enjoy in the ice and you can find it at this festival. There’s also a barehand fishing activity where you catch trout fishes with your barehand in the cold water wearing only shirts and shorts.

Our tour group GOH Travel also brought us to the Ice Sculpture Museum and to the Street full of Lanterns. For this year 2017, GOh Travel will still conduct one last trip on February 5, 2017. To join the trip, GO CLICK THIS EVENT PAGE for more details and information.

I will make a separate blogpost about other activities you can enjoy at Hwacheon during winter. The Ice Fishing Festival is enough reason already to go to Hwacheon. The festival runs from January 14, 2017 up to February 5, 2017.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Announcement of Examination for the 14th Korean Language Test (1st point system)

Finally, the long wait is over for all the Filipinos who aspire to work in South Korea. The Human Resource Department of Korea (HRD) through the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) has announced the schedule of registration and examination for the Paper Based Test (PBT) and Computer Based Test (CBT) for the Korean Language.

But before you get too excited, they also announced that there are additional requirements in order to be qualified as a foreign worker in Korea. I have posted the Process on How To Apply As Factory Worker in Korea in this blog before, apparently, that process is no longer applicable for this year’s recruitment because Korea is now hiring foreign workers based on Point System.

Before we get the details of the examination, please be informed that passing the Korean language test is not the only requirement to be hired. Aside from the Language Test, you must also pass the Skills test and at the same time you will be given the option for the competency test. We will discuss the other parts of point systems soon, but if you want to know the details of this, you can check THIS LINK for more information.

Your first challenge now is to pass the Korean Language Test. The qualifications of applicants have been revised already. The following are the new qualifications:

① Person aged between 18 and 38(Person born between Feb 1, 1978 ~ Jan 31, 1999)
 ② Person who has not been convicted of imprisonment or heavier punishment
③ Person who have no record of deportation or departure orders from the Republic of Korea
 ④ Person who is not restricted from departure of home country
⑤ Person who has no color blindness and color weakness
⑥ Person who has no physical handicaps such as the slipped disc or finger amputation

If you think you have the qualifications above, these are the dates of registrations and examinations:
For Registration:

Registration Period (4 DAYS): 31 January (Tues) ~ 3 February (Fri)

 Period: January 31-1-2 – February 3 – Male Applicants
February 3 – Male and Female Applicants may register (However, Male Applicants are preferred due to the nature of work) Presently, POEA has 2,000 Female Jobseekers in the roster. Allowed registrants per day: 7,500 or a maximum of 30,000 for four (4) days

 Time: From 6:00 AM to 8:00 PM
For Examination:
▪Announcement of Test Date, Place & Method: 17 March (Fri)
▪ Actual Test via PBT: 25 March (Sat) ~ 26 March (Sun)
 ▪ Actual Test via CBT: 3 July (Mon) ~ 31 July (Mon) / May be changed
▪ Announcement of Passers via PBT: 7 April (Fri)
 ▪ Announcement of Passers via CBT: 11 August (Fri)

Here are the requirements you need to submit:

1. Passport (validity should not be earlier than January 2018)
2. Clear copy of scanned passport
 3. Clear recent colored ID picture with dark blue background and name tag: (Last Name, First Name, Middle Initial, Suffix in capital letters), size: 3.5 cm X 4.5 cm

How to Apply Online(www.poea.gov.ph):

1. Create an EPS-TOPIK Registration Account
2. Check the email you provided 3. Click the link to activate your account in your email
4. Complete the registration form and then click “Submit”
5. Your application is now for evaluation. Please check your email for the status of your registration.
6. Login to your EPS-TOPIK Registration Account. If your registration has been approved, click “proceed to payment”.
7. Type the required information in the payment form 8. Wait for payment confirmation. Message, “You are now registered” 9. Print your test permit on the scheduled date.

Please note that this is just the FIRST STEP for the Point System. If you pass this test, then you can proceed to the SECOND STEP which is the Skills Test. I will discuss about this test in the future blogpost.

Good Luck!

Thursday, January 12, 2017

The Invasion of Prize Claw Machines ( 인형 뽑기) in Korea

One of the many 인형 뽑기 in Korea

Four years ago, prize claw machines already existed in South Korea. They were everywhere, but you can just see them in some random corners especially in the market places. However, these days, prize claw machines have elevated into a higher new level, they’re no longer rusting in some lonely corners of the street; but instead, you can now see them in an arcade room especially dedicated for them. I admit I tried playing in a prize claw machines for several times, in all those instances, I don’t remember winning even once, I therefore concluded that these arcade games were rigged. You sure could just buy a $5 worth of stuff toy in the market. It’s just that, people are looking for the thrill, and the joy they got from playing in this machine is simply priceless. The prizes are simply generic plush toys manufactured by who knows who, but they’re cute and fluffy enough to gain customer’s attention.

Plush toys as prize for this particular machine

But before you all get too excited and enlivened over this new craze in Korea that is인형 뽑기, I will explain first what it is all about. Well, for a start, it’s simply an arcade game also known as claw machines. You can find this kind of machine almost everywhere in Korea. Prizes at stake varies, it could be jewelries, dolls, toys, but in the case of 인형 뽑기, the prize is usually plush toys. The mechanics of the game is simple, you just need to insert the money in the slot to turn on the machine. The cost per game ranges from 500 won up to 1000 won, this will give you 15 to 30 seconds to get the prize you want by manipulating the crane using a joystick. That’s it, simple and fun.

Proud girlfriend holding her boyfriend's prizes

Nowadays, if you walk along the crowd of Koreans in some random market places, chances are, you’ll get to see young people and young Korean couples holding some generic plush toys. I think, there’s 80 percent possibility that they got it from the claw machines. There are a lot of reasons why Koreans are hooked into these machines, based on my personal analysis and psychoanalysis, Korean guys used these machines to impress their girlfriends. They are willing to spend several Cheon Won because their girlfriends are cheering for them. Also, it’s a way for a group of friends to bond and cheer for each others. And most of all, it’s thrilling and entertaining. As I’ve said, you can just buy those toys from some novelty shops, but the joy of getting it from the claw machines is different. No wonder why Koreans flock to places where there are claw machines installed.

Waiting for their turn to play the machine

Arcade room for claw machines are sprouting like mushrooms everywhere in Korea nowadays. I thought it’s only happening in Seoul and in Cheonan, but when I went to Daegu last New Year, I couldn’t believe they closed some fashion retail shops and jewelry shops to convert it into an arcade room for claw machines. I thought it was crazy idea, but people are actually patronizing this business. So if you have spare coins and wondering how you can dispose that off, head on now to your nearest인형 뽑기and get them all plush toys.

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Feeling Wizard at the Hogsmeade Café in Daegu

It was the last day of the year 2016 when I decided to do something magical. I’ve been a muggle all my life and there’s no way I can do magic. I once called the attention of Professor Dumbledore so he can let me in at the Hogwarts School of Wizardry so I can become one of them. Fortunately, an owl came at night with an invitation to Hogwarts, and I can still vividly remember how happy I was heading to the platform 3/4. At first, I felt awkward because those pure blood wizards stared at me like I was a dirty little boy, but thank goodness because I also met other muggles like Hermione Granger and she comforted me and even sat beside me at one of the compartments of Hogwarts Express.

Anyways, I was bored and would like to practice some of my magical skills, but I could not simply do it in the world of the muggles. At Hogwarts, I am a wizard, but in the human world, I am a normal person. Since it’s our break at school, there’s no way I could practice casting spells and making potions in the muggle world. I was so terrible at everything at school, although I have the determination and the patience and the enthusiasm, it’s difficult to turn muggles like me into a good wizard. So I decided to sneak into Hogsmeade. The problem was, unless you have the permit, no wizard is allowed to go to this wizarding village. I heard from a house elf that while wizards can’t go to Hogsmeade, everybody, and with everybody I mean including the muggles, can go to a Hogsmeade café which is located in South Korea!!!

Another problem was, my broomstick was broken, it was my bad because last semester, I went to try out for a Quidditch tournament, I felt like I was ready for it, but instead of catching the golden snitch, I hit on a lamppost and broke my broomstick and my nose, ugh!!! I have no choice but to commute like an ordinary person.

So I traveled to Daegu, South Korea to visit the Hogsmeade Café that the house elf was talking about. Apparently, this café is not in the Marauder’s map, so to add insult to the injury, I have to step a notch lower into the human level by using a Google’s Map so I can find the Hogsmeade café. The address of the café is at 경상북도 경산시 성암로12길 36-11. Since I was commuting, I checked the most convenient way to go there using the public transportation. The nearest Train station to the café is Sawol Station of the Daegu Subway. It was not difficult to ride a train at Daegu because there are only 4 subway lines, although I wish I could just Dissaparate to my destination, but I was too scared to try it because this may Apparate me to South Africa instead of South Korea.

 So I decided to just go through the flow of public transportation to go to Hogsmeade Café. When I reached Sawol Station on Line number 2, I went to Exit 2, there’s a bus stop at the exit. I took Bus Number 100-1 and got off at Oksan Woobang Apartment which is just 5 stops away from Sawol Station.

When I got off from the bus, the street reminded of Privet Drive where Harry Potter lives. It’s a quiet neighborhood, there were few people in the area that time and clean street. But Hogsmeade café is nowhere in the vicinity. I was tempted to use my magical powers to locate the café, but I was very careful. I walked one more block from the bus stop, I passed a building which looks like an elementary school, and then I crossed the street. And then in one small corner beside the school, I found the Hogsmeade café waiting for my arrival. It’s a small café with a very interesting design. When I saw it, it was……magical!!!

The Hogsmeade Cafe in Daegu

So I went inside the café, the barista slash the owner was sitting in the common room of the Gryffindor. There were two customers obliviously talking to each other and I barged in with my usual “annyeong haseyo” greetings. The barista, probably in his mid to late 20s welcomed me with a charming smile. But his presence was overshadowed by the familiar things I saw inside the café. One of the eye catchers in the café is the replica of the Gryffindor common room. There’s a big banner which says Gryffindor, a cloak, scarf, sorting hat and even harry Potter’s eyeglass. There’s also a fireplace which for me looks like a Floo network.

The Gryffindor common room inside the cafe

Each house has been represented in the café. There’s a banner for Ravenclaw, Hufflepuff and Slytherin, but Gryffindor stands out. There’s also Nimbus 2000, wands, and pen which reminds me of Rita Skeeter. Other memorabilia relating to Harry Potter like cards, marauders map and potions are magically displayed inside the café to awe every potterhead who visits the place.

Wearing my Gryffindor cloak and scarf with wand and potion

My first question to the barista slash the owner was, “are you a harry potter fan?”, yeah it was a silly question because the obvious answer was YES. He said that the wands, the broomstick and other stuff inside the café were made by his father. He conceptualized the Harry Potter themed café because he loves the novel, and he is a barista, so the café is a fusion of his passion.

The cafe counter

There’s a butterbeer in the menu, but because I couldn’t drink beer, I was so sorry I have to skip that. For my beverage, I had Kiwi smoothie. I also ordered Cheese Soufle and Choco Choco. There are few selections of coffee too and a lot of sweet treats, but for the benefit of my sugar intake, I have to be contented with what I ordered. I only paid 15,000 KRW for my food, a price quite reasonable for a themed café.

Kiwi smoothie, cheese soufle and choco choco

The ambiance is very wizardy and cozy. I was wearing the Gryffindor cloak all the time while inside the café. It was dimly lit making it looks like a chamber or a dungeon plus the walls and ceilings are bringing the Hogwarts feel. I must say that the interior design was carefully planned to make it look and feel like a dungeon. There are also clips from Daily Prophets posted in every corner of the café. It really reminds me of the Hogsmeade.

Daily Prophet news clips on the wall

As much as I wanted to stay for long, I have to go back home that afternoon. It may not perfectly resemble to the real Hogsmeade, but at least this café will satisfy your Harry Potter cravings. If you are a potterhead and you are in Korea, you must visit this café!